10 money-saving tips for food shopping

Food shopping on a budget can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. We’ve got some money-saving tips that will help your money go further.

Money-saving tips for food shopping

Not only will you save money, you’ll be healthier too. 

How do I save money on food?

Our top tips will help get you started.

1. Make a meal plan

It’s time to get organised because meal planning is a great way to save money.

Simply think about the meals you want to eat in the week ahead and make a meal plan. It’ll stop you from wandering the supermarket aisles picking up things you don’t need. 

Don’t forget to think about breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not sure where to start? We’ve got a great selection of healthy recipes.

2. Use a shopping list

You knew this one was coming next, right? Use your meal plan to make a shopping list of everything you need.

Don’t forget to check your fridge and cupboards to see if you’ve already got some of the ingredients. There’s no point buying extra when you don’t need it. Save that cash instead.

Take your shopping list to the supermarket and stick to it. If you don't stick to the list it’ll end up costing you money. Only take enough money to buy what you need.

Use a shopping list

Take a list with you when you go food shopping

3. Find the cheap places to shop

Avoid shopping in dairies and service stations. The prices tend to be much higher because you’re paying for convenience.

Local markets tend to be cheaper, and there’s always tons of fresh fruit and veges for you to get your hands on. It’s a great way to make your money go further.

4. Don’t shop when you’re hungry

We’re probably all guilty of this at some point. Notice how your shopping trolley fills up fast when you’re hungry? It’s more tempting to spend money on unnecessary food items which are usually high in fat, sugar and salt.

These extras will help blow your budget on things you don’t need. So do yourself a favour, have something to eat before you go shopping.

Have a snack before shopping

Have something to eat before you go food shopping

5. Buy in bulk

If you use a lot of something, buy it in bulk if you can. Things like bread, rice, veges and fruit are often cheaper if you buy them in bulk. Just make sure you’re actually going to use them before they go off.

6. Buy in season

Buying fruit and veges out of season can completely blow your food budget. $8 for an avocado in winter? No thanks.

Get to know what’s in season, so you can make the most out of cheaper fruit and veges. Not sure where to start? Here’s a useful guide to seasonal fruit and vegetables

Eat fresh food before it goes off

Remember to eat fresh food before it goes off

7. Use fresh items before they go off

It’s never good to throw away food that’s gone off, before you’ve had a chance to eat it. What a waste of money.

You can avoid this by making sure you use things up that can go off quickly, like fruit, vegetables and meat. Keep these items in the front of your fridge, so you can keep an eye on them. 

8. Don't be fooled by brands

Supermarkets often offer a range of the same product at different prices. A brand name, a cheaper brand and their own brand.

Sometimes the only differences are price and location on the shelf. The more expensive brand name items will be at eye height so you can easily see them. Cheaper items may be lower down on the shelves.

Why spend more on fancy packaging? Look for plain packaged items instead (e.g. Pams, Budget and Homebrand).

9. Drink water

Instead of reaching for expensive sugary drinks when you’re thirsty, change to water instead. It’s free and much better for you.

Swap fizzy drinks for water

10. Buy fresh foods not in packets

Supermarkets often sell fresh foods in packets like pre-chopped onions, lettuce and broccoli. Trouble is, there’s no real need for the packaging and all it does is increase the price.

Buy fresh food without packaging by visiting your local market. The fruit and veges will be package-free and better value for money.


It can be easy to save money on food shopping with these simple tips and some planning. We have more tips for healthy eating on a budget on our website. You’ll be saving money in no time.

If you’re looking for more help with healthy eating, Pacific Heartbeat offers a selection of nutrition courses. These can help you, your family and community eat better and live well.

Learn about our nutrition coursesGet healthy recipes